Coach says Jon Jones ‘hasn’t lost his agility’ at heavyweight, calls Ciryl Gane ‘one-dimensional’


One of the best to ever compete in MMA will return from a three-year layoff right into a heavyweight championship fight when Jon Jones faces Ciryl Gane in the main event of UFC 285 this Saturday night in Las Vegas — and his jiu-jitsu coach Roberto Alencar is promising an even better version of the legendary fighter.

Jones ran through multiple generations of light heavyweights to win and defend his UFC title 11 times between 2011 and 2020, but then stepped away to bulk up for a new challenge at heavyweight.

For Alencar, at least from a coach’s perspective, it’s not a more difficult task.

“”It’s simpler in the sense the opponents are more easily to decipher,” Alencar stated about Gane during this week’s episode Trocacao Franca .. “He only has one strength: His striking. He’s not a complete fighter that has been UFC champion before, like ones we’ve faced in the past.”

Aside from Stipe Miocic, who Alencar sees as the most well-rounded heavyweight in the UFC aside from Jones himself, other contenders don’t present a versatile game.

“Most fighters like Derrick Lewis and even ex-champion Francis [Ngannou],, are one-dimensional. They are not complete athletes,” he said. He said, “We are working with them a lot now at heavyweight.

“When you change divisions, it takes a little while. Many champions out there — let’s take [Israel] Adesanya as an example, he moved up with a short time and had weight and strength disadvantages, [regarding] knowing how to fight in a heavier weight class. Jon did that with calm and patience, and it was a master move to work his body the right way.

“Three years have passed and we’re ready to start a new journey at heavyweight, a supremacy at heavyweight.”

Alencar worked for Jones almost a decade in Albuquerque. He used to roll on the mats with Jones, but was unable to against this heavyweight “Bones .”


The jiu-jitsu ace, who runs Gracie Barra gyms in New Mexico, said Jones’ strength is “unreal” now.

“He’s stronger, more motivated, more disciplined and mature,” he said. “He’s a different athlete, a better athlete, and one that will give others plenty of problems at heavyweight.”

Roberto Alencar (right) with Jones in the octagon.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Three years away from the game won’t be a problem for Jones, Alencar told the UFC star, because “we haven’t been there for a while, but you’ve been there for a while.”

” We’re pioneers and we have the octagon. Alencar stated that we must get to the top with this attitude. Jon Jones is the most improved version so far. He’s 35 and he has all this experience, maturity, extra weight and power.

“[Gane], a heavyweight who moves much like a lighter heavyweight and moves just like [Alexander] Gustafsson. Let’s say he’s Gustafsson’s heavyweight. So we’ve had that experience already. It’s hard for someone to think they have Jon’s number today.”

Jones has gone the distance in his most recent title defenses at 205 pounds, dominating Anthony Smith but having much closer bouts with Thiago Santos and Dominick Reyes.

For UFC 285, Alencar said the team is hoping for an emphatic finish.

“I always want the finish, that being jiu-jitsu, ground-and-pound or knockout,” Alencar said. That’s exactly what we expect. I think that’s what the team, Jon, and fans want — to see a dominating Jon Jones at heavyweight, with some new weapons. Many people are curious to see his conditioning and body, too.

” There are many questions that need to be answered on Saturday. I have some answers now. Although he is a stronger and heavier Jon Jones than before, we are seeing him again. He has not lost his agility. It’s going to be an avatar of Jon Jones, let’s put it this way. A bigger one, but with the same personality and way of fight. He hasn’t lost his charisma. He is an example of a fighter who is joyful and happy, and happy for his team and camp .